When repair costs start to exceed the value of the vehicle or one-year monthly payments for a replacement, it's time to break with your car, according to automotive site Edmunds and Consumer Reports, the product review site. In other words, you're spending so much money that you could buy a used version of your current car that actually works instead of fixing your broken car. By now, you should know what to do when your car isn't worth repairing and how to know if it is or not. Consider how much you could save at the pump if you switched your car to a more fuel-efficient model.
If repair costs are higher than this full year of car payments, then you might want to reconsider repairs. The first is to fix your car and drive it forever, and the second is to buy the best car on the market. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for more than a decade and I am passionate about everything technical related to cars. In fact, it's a pretty convenient change if you're planning to buy a new or used car from a dealership.
There are other factors to consider when thinking about whether to make repairs or buy another car. This requires a lot more time and knowledge, but you'll earn more than a junkyard will pay you for the car. Use this car affordability calculator to determine the purchase price of the vehicle you can pay with your trade-in. However, career transition can leave you without income for several months or more, depending on how long you are out of work.
You can search listings for the same vehicle or look up your car in Kelley Blue Book to get a rough estimate of its value. You may have the opportunity to sell your car to someone who can do the repair for less than what you would spend. These places make money buying junk cars and selling them for parts, materials and metals. While personal finance experts generally advise you to keep your car for as long as you can, money isn't the only thing you should consider.